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Paris deal won’t stop global warming

To arrest the temperature rise well below two degrees, emissions need to drop between 40% and 70% globally between 2010 and 2050, falling to net zero by 2070, according to GEO6 report.

india Updated: Mar 14, 2019 02:14 IST
Anonna Dutt
Anonna Dutt
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
global warming,Paris deal,Sustainable Technologies
The sun sets behind Georgia Power's coal-fired Plant Scherer, one of the nation's top carbon dioxide emitters, in Juliette.(AP File Photo)

The sixth Global Environment Outlook (GEO6) report warns policymakers that current nationally determined contributions (NDC) under Paris Agreement, 2015 are just a third of the mitigation required to keep global temperatures below two degrees over pre-industrial levels.

“What this means is that even if we fulfil all the NDCs, the global temperature will still shoot up to 2.7 to 3 degrees Celsius, and with the United States withdrawing from the agreement, it will likely go beyond 3 degrees,” said Dr NH Ravindranath, professor at Centre for Sustainable Technologies at Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore, and one of the contributors to the global report.

Last year, a special report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change said that an increase of 1.5 degrees over pre-industrial levels would mean heat waves, heavy rainfall, extreme weather conditions, water shortage, reduced farm output, coral bleaching and sea level rise. With a two-degree rise, these risks would increase substantially. At the current pace of rise, the temperature target of 1.5 degrees is likely to be crossed between 2030 and 2052. “The target of 2 degrees is likely to be crossed 10-15 years after that,” said Ravindranath.

To arrest the temperature rise well below two degrees, emissions need to drop between 40% and 70% globally between 2010 and 2050, falling to net zero by 2070, according to GEO6 report.

“The report presents a global perspective and the same is true for India. The outlook is bleak. What we are saying in the report is that we are not on track to achieve sustainable development goals. We have several global commitments and action plans at the national level but the translation to the local level is weak,” said Ravindranath.

The GEO6 report was presented for consideration and endorsement on Wednesday during the ongoing fourth United Nations Environment Assembly in Nairobi, Kenya.

The report examines how global environmental degradation has led to irreversible impacts on atmosphere, land, oceans, and biodiversity and these, in turn, have “very high impact” on the health of people.

According to it, the world’s population is expected to reach 10 billion by 2050 with 66% of the population living in urban centres by 2050. “To actually reverse the pressure of the human population on the health of the planet we need to think of ways to prevent people from migrating to cities because they are not ready for it. Already, big cities like Bangalore are running out of the water,” said DrRavindranath.

“Nearly 600 million people in India depend on perennial rivers for water supply. With glaciers receding, whether these rivers will remain perennial is a question mark. These rivers are also responsible for groundwater recharge and sometimes the groundwater feeds the rivers, the whole system would be in jeopardy,” said Professor Arun Kansal, dean and head of the department of regional water studies at TERI School of Advanced Studies. To prevent mass migration to megacities, India needs to urgently address the land degradation and agrarian crisis, he added.

First Published: Mar 14, 2019 02:14 IST